Re: "First Turn in May", i called it for a beginner-heavy crowd in
Montague, MA recently (about 10 first-timers and several more inexperienced
dancers out of 50 total). Timing on the allemandes didn't seem to be an
issue. One thing i really liked about that dance was the opportunity to use
it as a teaching tool for allemandes (eg, offering style points followed by
intensive use of allemande, and being able to point out that weight-sharing
makes a big difference in tight timing). Also, thanks to the clear
corner/partner relationships, there seemed to be less confusion about
direction of progression than i've observed in similar
allemande/weave-heavy mixers under similar experience level conditions.
I'll be in Provo from December 8-14th. Is there any dancing in that
neck of the woods? Contra or ECD would be great. I'm taking a class
there and would love to have something to do in the evenings. I'll have
a car so could travel a little ways if needed.
ps Hi Frannie! Nice meeting you last night.
On Mon, 5 Nov 2012 10:34:59 -0500, Luke Donforth wrote:
> First Turn in May has 3 allemandes in the A2, with the B1 being a
> balance and swing. North Shore Mixer does something similar, but
> goes to a DSD.
> Do you not worry about the timing? I've been at several new dancer
> orientations where the caller stressed the 8 count phrasing as a
> way to keep track and demarcate the moves; I've even used it myself.
That's generally true, but in this case the writer knows that an allemande
doesn't take the full 8 steps so he's able to fit three moves into the
normal time for two. If you did just two allemandes in the 16 beats you'd
find it very slow.
> Is it just not an issue? Do new dancers get through 3 full
> allemandes in 16
It's an issue but it's not a problem! The issue is teaching people to give
weight, and you can encourage them to do this by saying, "If you bend your
elbow and give some weight in the turns, you'll be there right on the beat
for the balance". Of course this presupposes that you're doing some
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I've been finding circle mixers extremely valuable for dances with newer
dancers. They provide a way both to expose them to many different
experienced dancers as well as to make them comfortable with the idea of
dancing with different people all night. (We've all seen The Couple That
Shows Up And Dances Just With Each Other that doesn't come back because
they don't really meet anyone ...)
I was looking for some alternatives to La Bastringue that I can do early in
the evening, like 2nd or 3rd dance. Other mixers I've seen include doing
things like Do-Si-Do or Allemande one person and coming back to another;
I've found for new dancers that can often be confusing. ("Find another
partner-less person in the middle of the circle" is only amusing so many
Also, I called this at MIT on Tuesday evening and it worked pretty well
with a high percentage of new dancers.
It's a variation on La Bastringue which I'm tentatively calling "La String
Bean". If you've seen this or something really similar before, let me know
so I can start calling it by its proper name.
A1: Ladies to the center and back (4,4)
Gents to the center, turnaround and back (4,4)
A2: Current P Alle L 1.5x (8)
New P DSD (8, forgiving)
B1: Same New P B+S (4,12)
B2: Promenade the ring CCW, Gents turn in Ladies so all face in (14,2)
Optional: Make the promenade 8 beats and end the B2 with a courtesy turn
once and a little more.
One major point of this dance is to stealthily teach the Courtesy Turn from
the Promenade, something I stole from a new-dancer-lesson from, if I recall
correctly, Peter Stix.
Critique / suggestions welcome. (Thanks to Mr. Bob Isaacs for initial
suggestions earlier this week.)
The Triangle Country Dancers Callers Collective will be sponsoring a
callers' workshop with Carol Ormand, an amazing contra and square dance
caller from Madison, WI. Carol has been calling traditional contra and
square dances since the spring of 1990, and regularly calls at dances,
weekends, and festivals all over the United States (and occasionally
abroad). Since she moved to Madison, WI in 2005, she's also been
playing fiddle for dances.
The workshop will be held near Chapel Hill, NC the weekend of April 12-14.
Carol will call for the 2nd Friday TCD dance in Carrboro (before which,
I hope that many of the workshop participants can gather to have dinner
and an informal conversation with Carol.) Saturday will be an all day
workshop, followed by an evening contra dance, both of which will be
hosted at Stephen Stiebel's house. Finally, on Sunday, we will have a
wrap up and brunch to discuss what we've learned, how the dance went,
and other topics that may come up.
I will have a more complete description when I send out the official
announcement in the next week or so. Right now, I just ask that if
you're interested, you go ahead and get this on your calendar. I hope
to see many of you there!